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Study: Active Video Games Don’t Boost Kids’ Fitness

Find out why active video games don’t necessarily help improve your child’s level of physical activity.

boy Nintendo WIIEven with the existence of “exergames”, or those video games in the market that aim to boost kids’ activity, a study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that no significant difference exists between children who play the “exergames”and those who go for “non-active” video games.

Researchers gave 78 children between the ages of 9 and 12 Nintendo WII consoles for 13 weeks in order to monitor their activity. The group was split into two; one group to play with “active” video games, while the other with non-active video games. Examples of the active video games were “Dance Dance Revolution”, “EA Sports” and “Wii Sports”, while the non-active video games were “Madden NFL 10” and “Super Mario Galaxy”.

Throughout the study period, the kids were made to take note of their play times. Using accelerometers that helped track the kids’ level of activity for five weeks, the researchers discovered that they still had on average similar amounts of exercise, regardless what type of video game they played.

Says the author of the report, Dr. Tom Baranowski, “We expected that playing the video games would in fact lead to a substantial increase in physical activity in the children. Frankly we were shocked by the complete lack of difference.”

Despite the findings of the study, Baranowski is still not quick to dismiss the physical benefits that one can receive from active video games, versus more sedentary activities.
In conclusion, the study proves that there is still no substitute for real exercise which comes from more natural forms of physical activity like play.

Sources:

February 27, 2012. Carol Finch. “Study finds that active video games don’t improve kids’ fitness” digitaljournal.com

February 28, 2012. Alice Park. “Why Active Video Games Don’t Make Kids Exercise More” healthland.time.com

February 28, 2012. “Study Says ‘Active’ Video Games Don’t Boost Activity” dfw.cbslocal.com

Photo by ianus via flickr creative commons

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